Update to the recent ad rotation change

Friday, June 1, 2012

Last month we announced that we would be changing how creative rotation works in AdWords. Specifically, we changed the even rotation setting to rotate evenly for a period of 30 days, after which AdWords would optimize to show your higher performing creatives more frequently.

In the past month, we've heard a number of concerns from you about this change. Thank you for all of the feedback -- we've been listening carefully to determine the right course of action. The concerns have focused on (1) the lack of an opt-out for this change and (2) the potential that the 30 day even rotation window might be shorter than your testing window for new ads. You also inquired about why we made the change.

First, we’d like to share a little more about why we updated how creative rotation works. With the modified Rotate evenly setting, our tests indicate that we will provide you with more valuable traffic in an automated, efficient manner. We've found that, on average, optimized creative rotation results in an increase in click-through rate and an increase in total conversion volume for advertisers. Here’s an example describing the benefit (note: data is intended for illustrative purposes only):

Advertisement A has a 3% CTR, while Advertisement B has a 1% CTR. Under the original Rotate evenly setting, the ads would show roughly evenly, resulting in an average CTR of around 2%. Under the new setting, Advertisement A will show more frequently after the even rotation window has passed, bringing the average CTR closer to 3%, or a 50% increase in clicks. Our systems will also continue to run Advertisement B for a low fraction of traffic to continue to test how well it performs.

Also, in response to your feedback, we're planning to make two changes to the setting. First, we'll expand the even rotation period from 30 days to 90 days to give you a longer window for testing new ads. Second, if you still wish to have your ads rotate evenly indefinitely, we're going to offer an opt-out of this change. You can opt-out by filling in your information on this form or by contacting your account representative. Both of these changes will go into effect on June 11, 2012.

If we see a large amount of demand for the opt-out over the next few weeks, we'll also offer the opt-out in the AdWords interface directly.

We're confident that the changes we've made to ad rotation enable us to show higher quality ads to our users and better performing ads for our advertisers. However, we also realize that it is important to provide you with the freedom and time to decide what works best for you and that's why we're announcing these changes today. Please continue to share your feedback so that we can build solutions to meet your advertising needs.

Posted by: Nick Fox, VP, Product Management

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